Bing Rewards is pretty nice way to earn small prizes (or chances to win big awards) while doing what you would normally do anyways on a daily basis- use an Internet search engine. Since Google is so dominant, Microsoft has had to resort to the Bing Rewards system to entice users to use Bing more. The strategy has worked, at least for me- I've set Bing as the default search engine on all the browsers I use. I even set the Bing Dashboard as one of default/home pages when I launch Firefox, to take advantage of their daily "free" points (there are usually 3 of them).
Unfortunately about 1/3 of the time I am unhappy with the search results and have to use Google, but for the most part it's been a more than acceptable compromise since I have been able to accumulate 16356 "credits" to date, which I have redeemed for more than $150 in Amazon gift cards, $5 at a time. As a "gold" member, I am able to get a $5 Amazon GC for 475 points, a "discount" of 50 credits.
My wife does the same thing, though recently she ran into two problems. First whenever she tried to redeem for her Amazon code, it would just send her redemption page instead of the order form. Secondly, the cost for the $5 Amazon gift card shot up to 775 points.
My first reaction was darn it, now I also have to wait longer to reach the Amazon GC goal, but when I checked my account, it was still costing 475. So my wife wrote to the Bing Rewards customer support, and the following was their reply:
Thank you for getting back to us.
This is *** from Bing Rewards and I have a few things to explain on what's going on with the program.
First, the reason why you're encountering an issue when trying to redeem the Amazon gift card is because you're trying to redeem it from the "Your goal" section. You may have set this goal back when the price was still at 475.
There's been a price increase and it is now at 775 (I will discuss more of this later).
We've manually added 300 credits to your account so that in effect, you'll still be redeeming the item you've set as "Your goal" at 475 credits. However, this is just for this instance and you will have to redeem the Amazon gift card from the redemption page and not from the "Your goal" section. We suggest that you remove the goal and add a new one to refresh that section of your account.
Now, about the difference in prices, in the Bing Rewards program, we test and learn, making regular updates and refinements. Part of implementing our tests may include changes in the prices that may differ from one account to another. This helps us gather data from our users and use the information for the program's feasibility and ultimately for the overall improvement of our members' experience.
Should you have further clarification, please let us know.
The Bing Rewards Team
The reason for the dramatic price hike interesting- so Microsoft is testing whether this increase will help determine the Bing Rewards program "feasibility"? Perhaps they are trying making it much more difficult to redeem prizes for select guinea pigs and see if they will say screw it, that's too much- I'm just going to go back to Google. Or will they still stay and keep consistently use Bing? With the recent fiasco of Microsoft removing OneDrive unlimited usage for paid members and imposing lower limits for free users, unfortunately Bing Rewards may be the next casualty in the company's mission to cut costs while ignoring customer ire.
Some of the other eGift/Phsyical cards that went up to 775 include:
- $5 Starbucks
- $5 Burger King
- $5 GameStop
These notable ones stayed the same price:
- $5 Chipotle
- $5 ToysRUs
- $5 Sephora
- $5 Fandango
- $5 Macy's
So if this has happened to you where many of the $5 Bing Rewards targets have been raised to 775 or even higher, it doesn't hurt to email support and let them know of your displeasure, and perhaps get some free credits added to your account. As you can see from the MS customer service response, my wife was able to get 300 free credits, the difference between 775 and 475.
Update April 26, 2016: Tried to redeem a $5 Amazon Gift Certificate for 475 points, but says the reward is temporarily unavailable. Seems like they are trying to steer people towards other gift card redemptions. Hopefully the Microsoft Bing team gets this straightened out soon. The number of gift card options has drastically dwindled from several months ago- now there is only Fandango, Gamestop, & Starbucks. Perhaps a sign of the rewards program getting shutting down?
Update April 28, 2016: The Amazon GC redemption option returned. Though I have noticed another trend where only 2 (instead of 3) daily freebie Bing points are available at the Bing Rewards Dashboard home page for the past week or so.